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Daily Dodger in Review: Stephen Fife was killing them softly

January 10, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Dodgers right-hander Stephen Fife delivers a pitch against the Phillies at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers right-hander Stephen Fife delivers a pitch against the Phillies… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

STEPHEN FIFE, 26, starting pitcher

Final 2012 stats: 0-2, 2.70 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 6.8 strikeouts per nine innings, .196 opponents batting average in 26 2/3 innings.

Contract status: Under team control.

The good: Was consistent in his five starts. Never gave up more than two earned runs in any start. Called up after Nathan Eovaldi was traded to Miami, on July 27 he held his own against Matt Cain in an eventual 5-3 victory over the Giants in San Francisco. In his other four starts, the Dodgers managed a total of four runs.

Though not particularly a strikeout pitcher, in an emergency stretch-drive start against the Cardinals on Sept. 16, he struck out nine in five innings.

The bad: Spent most of his season at triple-A Albuquerque (11-7, 4.66 ERA), so what little the Dodgers saw of him, he really gave them little to complain about.

What’s next: Back to Albuquerque. With John Ely traded, he may have to be their ace.

The take: Fife came to the Dodgers in 2011 in the trade of outfielder Trayvon Robinson. Catcher Tim Federowicz was the main prize, but Fife has given the Dodgers decent rotation depth.

That said, if the right-hander ends up in their 2013 rotation, something has gone terribly wrong. The Dodgers currently have eight proven starters in their rotation. One or two could be traded, and whoever is leftover and not in the rotation figures to go to the bullpen.

So the only way Fife sees the majors next season is if trades and injuries open up spot, which could mean the Dodgers’ postseason plans are in trouble.

There are worse guys, however, to be holding in the minors as an emergency starter. The Dodgers may not have seen enough of Fife to make any definitive judgments, but he at least provided some form of comfort level.

He’s not normally going to overpower a lineup and doesn’t scream future ace, but even as a green finesse guy, he seemed cool and comfortable in the majors, demonstrated good control and a nice competitive attitude.

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